Back On Her Feet

Back On Her Feet

Thirty-three year old Pinki Devi lost her husband to a liver disease in 2020, in the middle of a pandemic. Forty year old Charanjit Ram, a tailor by profession, left behind a wife, four children and a mother. He was the sole breadwinner of the family; he supplemented his income by selling street food in the evenings. They managed to earn about Rs 500 per day from the two businesses.

After his demise, the future looked very bleak for this family from Sirsi village in Bihar’s Nalanda district. It was made particularly worse due to the intermittent lockdowns. Moreover, the family spent Rs 60,000 on Charanjit’s treatment; a large part of which was borrowed from friends and relatives. Pinki who is a survivor of child marriage (married at 14 years) herself was worried about the future of her two sons (12 and 10 years old), and two daughters (nine and seven years old).   

Oxfam India-HDFC project—UTTHAN—has been working in Nalanda for nearly a year now. HDFC’s CSR initiative Parivartan aims to ‘Create Sustainable Communities’ by enhancing sustainable livelihood options and improving access to essential services, especially of women, from the most marginalised and vulnerable communities.

In order to provide for some livelihood options, cash transfer of Rs 12000 was made in March this year to Pinki. She had decided to refurbish the food cart; though she was doing some business with the food cart she wasn’t able to pick it up the way her husband was able to do. Moreover, the cart was badly in need of repair. She used this money to repair the food cart, purchase new utensils to cook and store food, and to buy raw material for the food.

Pinki is now an entrepreneur. She is able to make nearly Rs 400 per day. With schools shut due to the lockdown, the older son helps her out with the food cart.

She says, “I had lost hope but you have raised hope in our life. After the passing of my husband my business had lost its lustre, I could not compete in market because I had very less capital and my cart was old and not attractive enough to fetch customers. With the support received, I have restarted my business. Now I earn  enough to feed my children and save some money to invest in my business”.

So the next time you are at Sirsi village don’t miss Pinki’s Samosa Chaat.

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